It has been an unusually warm spring throughout the UK, with forecasts that the summer is going to be a toasty one, maybe on par with the summer of '76. What better excuse than to get customers to stock up on beer and cider, which is one reason the UK retailer Tesco probably decided to run a sale this week in its Scottish stores that was supposed to say, "Buy three boxes of beer and save £11."
Unfortunately for Tesco but happily for its customers, a computer glitch turned the sale into, "Buy three boxes of beer for £11," a BBC report said.
The news of the pricing error quickly spread by way of social media, email and phone, which quickly created a stampede of buyers to Scottish Tesco stores who wanted to save themselves £9 off the intended sales price and £20 off the nominal price. Given the fact that Scotland is one of the most expensive locations to buy a pint of beer probably helped motivate Tesco shoppers as well.
The STV article reported that the pricing error last for a couple of hours before Tesco was able to fully correct it across all of its stores operating in Scotland. But by then, many shoppers had hauled away trollies stacked high with crates of beer and cider.
Tesco isn't saying how many crates of beer and cider were sold at the incorrect price.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.